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Research Paper #891

Title:Formal Support for an Informal Business Modelling Method
Authors:Chen-Burger,J; Robertson,DS
Date:Mar 1998
Presented:Accepted for the Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering Conference, June 1998
Keywords:business modelling, bsdm, formal method
Abstract:Business modelling methods are popular but, since they operate primarily in the early stages of software life cycles, most are informal. this paper descries how we have used a conventional formal notation (first order predicate logic) in combination with automated support tools to replicate the key components of an established, informal business modelling method: IBM's Business System Development Method (BSDM). We describe the knowledge which we represent formally at each stage in the method and explain how the move from informal to formal representation allows us to provide guidance and consistency checking during the life cycle of the model. It also allows us to extend the original method to a model execution phase which is not described in the original informal method. Although our formal modelling system has not been extensively tested, it relies for much of its interaction on grammatic notations which already appear in BSDM and are therefore already tested in practice. The role of the formal notation in this case is not to provide a formal semantics for BSDM but to provide a framework for sharing the information supplied at different modelling stages and which we can supplement with simple forms of automated analysis.

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